Iowans Gather to Remember Lives Lost in 1963 Birmingham Violence

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Iowans gathered at the shattering silence sculpture on the Capitol grounds on Sunday to remember a tragedy in Birmingham, Alabama, that's as relevant today as it was in 54 year ago.

"We hope to bring awareness that even though we are years later, we need to help bring the community together to talk rhetoric and violence and how they affect people, in particular our young people," said Jacquie Easley McGhee, regional associate chair of Jack and Jill of America.

Ku Klux Klan members exploded dynamite in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham and killed four young African American girls back in 1963. On Sunday, people young and old showed up to remember the four lives lost.

This comes on the heels of a racially-charged picture from Creston High School students, showing five boys posing with a burning cross dressed as members of the KKK. Events like Sunday's gathering aim to remember racially-charged domestic acts of violence and help encourage people to stop.

"If we hold the idea that we are all created equal, we need a reminder that we need to stay on that path. It's a reminder that its a work in progress," said Des Moines resident Jon McAlister.

Des Moines joined Jack and Jill organizations all across the state in holding this event. They have been held on this day every year for 54 years.